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Home > McGill News > 2002 > Summer 2002 > Newsbites


New principal starts school in January

Photo PHOTO: Owen Egan

It took over 180 years, but McGill will soon have the very first female principal in its history. "It's an important step forward for the University," says Principal Bernard Shapiro of the recent appointment of Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum, who will succeed him in January 2003.

"I think it's a great choice," Shapiro enthuses. "She is a very dynamic, exciting person." Torstar Media Group president Robert Prichard, LLD'96, the former president of the University of Toronto -- and Munroe-Blum's former boss -- wholeheartedly agrees. "There is no individual in Canada better equipped to become the principal of McGill University than Heather Munroe-Blum."

Prichard gives Munroe-Blum much of the credit for U of T's recent successes. During her stint as U of T's vice-president for research and international relations, a job she leaves in June, funding support for the university's research programs doubled. In 1999, Munroe-Blum was primary author of Growing Ontario's Innovation System: The Strategic Role of University Research, a report widely hailed for convincing a skeptical Ontario government of the merits of university-based research. She is also credited with playing a leading role in lobbying efforts that resulted in the federal government making $200 million available to help universities pay the indirect costs associated with their research.

Munroe-Blum is herself a scholar to reckon with. With a background in social work and psychiatric epidemiology, her research on personality disorders has been widely influential.

The principal-elect characterizes McGill as "a Canadian treasure." She says she was already well aware of the quality of McGill's teaching and research efforts, the dedication of the people who work there, and the University's international stature. "What has taken me by surprise is the loyalty and commitment I see in McGill's friends from around the world. The response to my appointment has really been quite overwhelming. All sorts of people have been sharing their hopes and aspirations for McGill with me. I've been receiving letters and emails from practically everywhere."

Principal Shapiro has agreed to an extension of his term until the end of the calendar year to help pave the way for his successor. "I will do what I can to help make sure that the University is ready for her and that she is ready for us."

To learn more about the new principal see

Playing in the mud

Photo PHOTO: Owen Egan

Architecture students Colin Hanley, Layla MacLeod and Jean-Fran¬ćois Morin pile on the mud.

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